A healthful diet and active lifestyle are some of the best weapons to fight heart disease.
According to the International Food Information Council Functional Foods/Foods for Health Consumer Trending Survey, cardiovascular health risks, including high blood pressure, stroke and high cholesterol, are the top health concern for many people.
“Consuming a diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol and sodium can help reduce your risk for heart disease,” according to David Grotto.
“But that’s only one side of the equation. It is also important to choose foods that can promote heart health such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fibre.” Other foods that promote heart health include: Nuts: As a rich source of protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fat, nuts are a powerhouse food that can promote heart health.
“Heart Healthy” Fats: Both monounsaturated fat (olive, canola, peanut or high oleic safflower oil) or polyunsaturated fat (sunflower, corn or soybean oil) may help promote heart health. Salmon, sardines, herring, trout and tuna are terrific sources of omega-3 fatty acids, as are eggs and some fortified brands of peanut butter, mayonnaise, cooking oil, cereal, pasta and nutrition bars.
Soy Protein: Look for soy protein in nutrition bars, fortified soy beverages, tofu, soy cheese and edamame or try adding soy protein to your favourite smoothie.
Sterols and Stanols: These plant-based food components help lower LDL cholesterol levels. They are found in foods like corn, soy, wheat and some fortified foods like soft table spreads, orange juice and yogurt.
Dark Chocolate: Some dark chocolates can contain helpful components called flavanols. These cocoa-derived flavanols have been shown to help support the cardiovascular system, which helps move blood to and from the heart. When included in moderation, dark chocolate can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.
To help people incorporate more “heart healthy” foods into their diet, the International Food Information Council Foundation has developed two new resources including a video, “Foods for Health: Eating for Heart Health” produced in partnership with registered dietitian David Grotto, author of “101 Optimal Life Foods.”